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SSIS advice column

Welcome back to the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email ssis@brandeis.edu or leave a question in the Google Form link on the Student Sexuality Information Service Facebook page. Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! 

(Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!)

“Does SSIS have orgies? Like what’re you really doing in your office hours?”

Thank you for your question! This is actually a misconception. SSIS provides sex-positive resources to the Brandeis community and holding office hours is one way we aim to do this. These sex-positive resources include our products, library, workshops/presentations, confidential peer support and referrals. Members of the Brandeis community are encouraged to stop by during our office hours to take advantage of these resources.

Perhaps one of our most well known resources, our products are sold in our office on the third floor of the SCC. We sell various barrier methods, toys, menstrual products, pregnancy tests and more! Members of the community can buy these products during our office hours.

Our library has many books of varying topics ranging from healthy relationships to DIY sex toys to erotica. While the office is open, people are welcome to peruse our library and either read in the office or rent books.

Workshops and presentations include our semesterly presentation during orientation, dorm raps, and workshops such as kinky craft night. Dorm raps are not exclusively for dorms; any group on campus (interest clubs, athletics, religion, you name it!) can email ssis@brandeis.edu to organize a dorm rap presentation. Most of our workshops are held in our office and are held once per semester. 

Confidential peer support is an important aspect of SSIS. Any member of the Brandeis community is welcome to visit our office during office hours to receive confidential support from trained members of SSIS. 

We do our best to provide people with as many resources as possible, but we are not medical professionals or counselors or experts. We are, however, able to provide outside resources and referrals. For more information or specific questions, please stop by our office.

During office hours, our members are on-call to provide these resources. If not actively helping a community member, we may be found organizing our product display, preparing for a dorm rap, or researching new potential referrals. We hold office hours every day that classes are in session; Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

“I want to use lube, but I have no idea where to start! Help?” 

You’ve come to the right place! SSIS sells several different brands and types of lubes. We sell packets of lubrication for $0.25, small bottles for $3.50 and large bottles for $10. 

Types of lube: water-based, silicone-based, hybrid (usually around 85% water-based and 15% silicone-based), oil-based. It’s important to recognize the differences between these lubes, as the lube’s makeup impacts which situations they can be used in, and what materials can be safely used with them as well. Whether you purchase your lubes at SSIS or not, always be sure to check if the lube is body-safe (all of the lubes SSIS sells are body-safe).

Water-based lube is one of the more commonly found lubes; since they are water-based, they are easy to clean off of clothing and bedding, absorb into the skin, and are compatible with all sex toys and all barrier methods/condoms. They do tend to dry out faster than other kinds of lubes but can be reactivated with water (or saliva). Some water-based lubes contain glycerin and paraben, so if you are sensitive to these ingredients or prone to vaginal/urinary infections, you may want to avoid lubes with these ingredients. Many people enjoy the thicker, “cushion-y” quality of water-based lubes. The water-based lubes offered at SSIS include Please Gel, Aneros Sessions, and Sliquid Swirl (which comes in six unique flavors!). 

Silicone-based lubes are more slippery and longer-lasting than water-based lubes and are not water soluble. Thus, they are harder to wash off than water-based lubes. This type of lube is compatible with all barrier methods and with some toys. Silicone-based lube can degrade silicone toys, however. The silicone-based lubes offered at SSIS include Pjur, Gun Oil and Pink. 

Hybrid lubes combine the qualities of water and silicone-based lubes, often having the thicker quality of water based lubes with the longer-lasting properties of silicone lubes. If used with pure silicone toys, the lube may degrade the material, so do test out the lube on a non-essential part of the toy before using it on that toy. The hybrid lubes offered at SSIS include Please Cream and Sliquid Silk. 

Oil-based lube takes awhile for the skin to absorb, so it is pretty long-lasting but can interfere with the vagina’s self-cleaning mechanisms and also destroy the material of latex and polyurethane condoms, so DO NOT use it in these situations. SSIS carries a penis-owner masturbatory cream called “Stroke 29,” which contains oil, so if you are using this product, be mindful of the safety concerns that come with oil-based products. 

When trying any lube for the first time, test it out to see if the consistency and feel works for you and to make sure you are not allergic to its ingredients.

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